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Opinion

Newcastle turn down £15m for Matt Ritchie as ‘Don’t want to sell on the cheap’ – Only want to buy on the cheap?

10 months ago
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It has been confirmed that Stoke have offered £15m for Matt Ritchie but that bid has been rejected.

The Chronicle are stating as fact that the bid has been made and turned down, reporting that NUFC won’t sell the winger ‘on the cheap’, the Scottish international having played more Premier League games than any other Newcastle player last season.

Exactly what is and isn’t ‘cheap’ is difficult to gauge these days, especially in the Premier League…and those trying to get into/back to the top tier.

Matt Ritchie turns 29 in September so that has to be a factor in establishing a realistic price, as does his record in the Premier League and Championship.

Easy to see why Championship clubs would fancy taking him, as when Bournemouth got promotion in 2014/15 the winger got 15 goals and 17 assists, whilst with Newcastle it was 12 goals and 7 assists in 2016/17.

It is also worth pointing out that in the top tier with Bournemouth his figures dropped to 4 goals and 6 assists and then 3 goals and 5 assists for Newcastle in the Premier League last season.

So basically, I think these past four seasons show, in the Championship the winger is a goalscoring and goal making machine, involved directly in 51 goals in the last two second tier seasons – better than a goal (he is involved) in every other game.

Whilst in the two Premier League seasons I think you then get a hard working winger who scores/creates far less often, involved in 18 goals over the course of two top tier seasons, less than one every four matches. Plus for Newcastle last season, he struggled to create a lot in open play, almost all assists coming on set-pieces.

The big question of course, as it is with every player who could potentially leave, is whether the replacement will improve the team?

If it is/was Kenedy as a replacement then I would argue that we are getting a better player, who is only 22. Certainly better in terms of the Premier League as he threatens the other teams by being more direct and running at them, something Newcastle don’t have in the rest of the team at the moment.

Based on the stats, there is actually a strong argument for saying that Matt Ritchie should actually generate a higher transfer fee than if a Premier League side buys him, as the winger scores and creates so often at that lower level.

Interesting when the media are talking about Newcastle United (Mike Ashley) not selling on the cheap.

We are all well aware of this, already we have seen this summer a move for Matz Sels reportedly fail because of a £500,000 difference in valuation, whilst Chancel Mbemba is dragging on for ever in his move, with not much more of a difference in valuation with Porto.

Last summer Rafa Benitez failed to shift Mitrovic, as despite only four goals and 11 starts in the Championship the previous season, Mike Ashley insisted on at least £16m for the striker, a ridiculous figure at the time which was never going to be met. The net result was that Rafa was stuck with a striker he didn’t want, who he didn’t give a single start in the PL last season, which also impacted on the ability to sign a striker he did want.

Newcastle ending up with Joselu for £5m, a forward who was never going to score many, as his past record told us.

Mike Ashley has been happy to bank £35m for Carroll, £20m for Cabaye, £30m for Sissoko, £25m for Wijnaldum etc etc.

Yet when it comes to buying there is a glass ceiling that has been in place for the entire 11 years of Ashley, the Michael Owen 13 year transfer record still not troubled.

The point must have been reached now where no sensible Newcastle fan can accept this logic that it is beyond our means for NUFC to pay £17m or more for a player, whilst at the same time wanting over £15m for Matt Ritchie.

If a (soon to be) 29 year old Matt Ritchie is deemed to be worth that, then a 22 year old Kenedy has to be seen as a relative bargain at anything close to £20m, considering what he showed last season, his potential and the fact he is just at the start of his career.

A bit worrying that the Chronicle also talk of Ki Sung-Yueng being the ‘replacement’ for Mikel Merino. Easy to forget just how excited Newcastle fans were about Merino’s form earlier last season, the Swansea midfielder is a valid signing but no more than a solid squad player.

You would hope that the £10m difference in the two midfielders would then mean extra financial power in landing Kenedy and/or Townsend or whoever, but that is the heart of the matter, with Ashley in the background we can never be sure of anything.

The Chronicle:

‘The Magpies aren’t keen on selling Matt Ritchie on the cheap despite a huge wage offer for the winger from Stoke

An offer of £15million has been deemed as unacceptable by the Magpies and Rafa Benitez does not want to sell the Scotland international unless he is handed a quality replacement.

However, like the impending exit of Mikel Merino, Benitez will only sanction Ritchie’s exit once a replacement is sought.

That was the case when the club signed Ki Sung-yueng last week on a free transfer with Merino due to join Real Sociedad in due course.’
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